In recent years, multipronged research efforts have brought a new level of understanding about this pathogen's complex biology and disease mechanisms, leading to better management strategies. The key papers presented below, published in Phytopathology, Plant Disease, and Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, tell a story of progress. Free access is available to these papers for a limited time.
The bacterial plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa is the causal agent of Pierce’s disease of grapevine, citrus variegated chlorosis, leaf scorch disease of almond and other tree hosts, and phony peach disease. This gram-negative bacterium dwells in the xylem of plants and is transmitted between hosts by xylem-feeding insects. Unlike most bacterial plant pathogens, X. fastidiosa does not encode a type III secretion system. In addition, X. fastidiosa is unique among arthropod-transmitted bacterial plant pathogens in that the organism propagates in its insect vector without circulating in the hemolymph.
Much remains to be learned about important virulence factors and determinants that enable its colonization of plants and insects (see below). The global X. fastidiosa research community is actively studying a variety of topics, including pathogen virulence, plant host resistance, factors influencing bacterial proliferation in xylem, insect interactions, rapid detection, and population genetics. Researchers are also taking many different approaches in attempts to manage diseases caused by X. fastidiosa.
George W. Sundin